Beckman Mill

On the grounds of the 50-acre county park you will see an authentically restored 1868 grist mill, a new dam, mill pond,fish ladder, foot bridge, saw mill display, 1840s cooperage, visitor center, gift shop, creamery, blacksmith shop, picnic shelter, vintage garden, nature trail and more.

The showpiece of the park is the Beckman Mill, the restoration of which was completed in 1997 by the Friends of Beckman Mill’s volunteer work crew. It is operational with power being supplied by its original 1860s water driven Leffel turbine. In the event alternate power is needed, the mill can be operated by its vintage two-cylinder gasoline engine.

The mill was built shortly after the Civil War by millwright William Howe of Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. In 1882 it was acquired by August Beckmann who had previously operated mills in nearby Juda and Hanover. The mill was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.


Colored Sands Bird Banding

The birding at this wonderful preserve is amazing. White-eyed Vireos, Savannah, Lark, and Vesper Sparrows are just a few of the birds that call Colored Sands home. The Sugar River cuts through the preserve and the habitat variety is directly linked to the diversity of birdlife.

The biggest draw to this preserve is the bird banding station, the Sand Bluff Bird Observatory (SBBO) established by former owner Lee Johnson in 1967. Close-up bird encounters are offered by the gracious volunteer banders who happily show and discuss the various birds. The banding station is run entirely on volunteer efforts. In addition to research, education is important and the station allows visitors and even group tours. This is unique from most other bird banding stations that we know of. The SBBO has banded over 85,000 birds of over 150 species.
Bird Banding - Cardinal
Banding takes place on weekends from March to the end of May and then again from late August to the end of November.
Banding Hours

* Saturdays: 8:00 am-4:00 p.m
* Sundays: 8:00 am-12:00 pm

Nygren Wetlands

The Natural Land Institute is restoring prairies, woodlands and wetlands to this beautiful land west of Rockton along Raccoon Creek and the Rock and Pecatonica rivers. In the summer, blossoms of wild bergamot, sunflowers and gray-headed coneflower create a purple and yellow ocean of color stretching from the scenic bluff in the north to the rivers in the south. Wildlife species, including migrating waterfowl and songbirds, are returning in abundance. NLI purchased the 721 acre preserve in 2000 using a generous gift left to us in Carl Nygrens will.

Pearl Lake

Pearl Lake's natural gentle slope boasts one of the best kept beaches for swimming and summer fun, including a large deck with beach bar and music on weekends. Pearl Lake, renowned for its startling clarity and depth, hosts dive masters and those just learning to scuba dive throughout the long summer season. Depths of up to 85 feet ensure clear viewing of underwater objects and freshwater habitat. Pearl Lake's natural gentle slope also boasts one of the best kept beaches for swimming and summer fun, including a large deck with beach bar and music on weekends. Pearl Lake Supper Club, open weekends April through October, occupies an all-glass building overlooking the lake...a perfect place to unwind after a day's dive or swim.

Pearl Lake

1220 Dearborn Avenue
South Beloit, IL 61080
P: 815-389-1479

Horse Back Riding

Our facility has been enjoyed by both large and small groups alike. From family outings to reunions to large corporate events people have enjoyed our grounds and offerings. School field trips and scout groups as well as other social organizations have used our premises and arranged for horseback rides and activities. Prenuptials, weddings, anniversary and birthday parties are one-of-a kind affairs with lasting memories. Several with a country/western or outdoor theme have been celebrated at Fantasy Hills Ranch.

Pecatonica Ridge Prairie Preserve

80 acres. Limited access for volunteer opportunities and special events for members.

The Natural Land Institute purchased the 80-acre Pecatonica Ridge Prairie Preserve at auction in June 2005. The preserve includes an eight-acre gem of original native prairie at the south end with species that include pasque flower, pale purple coneflower, rosinweed, porcupine grass and prairie dropseed. Plants such as joe pye weed and tussock sedge grow in the 40 acres of wetland at the north end of the preserve.

Approximately 32 acres between the prairie and wetland were planted in corn and soybeans for many years. In 2005, NLI volunteers and staff began collecting native prairie seed to restore vegetation to the area. In April 2006, kids and volunteers restored two acres adjacent to the original prairie remnant by broadcasting a mix of the seed. Seed collecting and planting by volunteers continued until the restoration was completed in the spring of 2009.

Native prairies are rare in Illinois. Pecatonica Ridge Prairie is one of about 250 fragments scattered throughout the state. Each is a natural treasure.

Paddle and Trail

Paddle and Trail is an independently owned, full service outdoor retailer and outfitter with several locations in the stateline area. We specialize in paddlesports, trail running, Nordic winter sports, and hiking and related apparel. As a leader in the outdoor industry and in the larger community, we use outdoor retail as a platform to encourage outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship and improve access to both water and land trails for increased recreational opportunities.

Paddle Boats & Bicycle rental Beloit

Riverside Park

The crown jewel of Beloit is Riverside Park, located on the banks of the Rock River. The park buzzes with activity all through the year, but it really comes alive during summer with Beloit Riverfest, Music at Harry's Place, Dancin' at Harry's Place and the Fourth of July Festival. In addition, this 23-acre park is home to famous Turtle Island Playground; Beloit River Walk, a 3.5 mile paved walk-bike path around the Rock River; the Harry C. Moore Pavilion and the Rotary River Center. Paddle boats and tandem bicycles are available for rent. The park also features fishing, ice skating on the lagoon, two picnic shelters, play equipment, lighted tennis courts, concessions and restrooms. Free Admission.

Riverside Drive, Hwy 51
Beloit, WI 53511
P: 608-364-2929


Copperstone Inn
6702 Yale Bridge Rd
Rockton, IL 61072